While an expensive tube amp is the dream for many guitarists, that kind of precious unit isn’t the most practical for everyone. If you’re looking for an amp designed for home, stage and street, the Roland Cube Street may have caught your attention. With a rugged but portable design, this sub-$300 battery-powered model shows off everything that’s great about solid-state amps – let’s check it out.
The controls for the Cube Street are extensive but well-segregated and straightforward, sitting on top of the amp for easy access. On the guitar channel there are three EQ controls (bass, middle and treble), as well as rotary controls for the FX and delay/reverb. Below this is the COSM amp models control, in addition to gain and volume controls. On the left side of the control panel is a section dedicated to mic controls, including 2-band EQ (bass and treble), delay/reverb, and volume. Solid, responsive and easy to get to grips with.
For a small, affordable amp, the Cube Street offers plenty of features. Starting with the fundamentals, it is voiced by two high-performance 6.5” neodymium speakers offering 5 watts of power. This is housed in a stylish black case with a slanted design and silver grille, proving a light but sturdy amp. For street performers it’s great thanks to around 15 hours of battery life on six AA batteries.
As for modeling, the Cube Street features eight different COSM amp models and six onboard digital effects including chorus, flanger, delay and tremolo. Perhaps most useful for performers is the two channels, featuring both XRL and 1/4” microphone inputs, allowing you to sing and play through the amp at the same time. Throw in the built-in chromatic tuner, auxiliary input for MP3, and AC adapter, and it shows good value for less than three hundred bucks.
There’s plenty of tone from this solid-state amp, helped by the eight COSM amp models and EQ controls. You can find everything from warm, jazzy cleans to fierce high-gain distortion for heavy rock and metal – and everything in between. The range of effects won’t satisfy the biggest experimenter, but there’s certainly enough for good sound-shaping on the go, while the stereo sound is noticeable (especially with a little chorus). The same goes for the power – it’s not the loudest in this price range and won’t fill a huge space, but for street, lessons or at home, it’s ample.
You can find more versatile amps for this price and more powerful ones. But the overall package Roland offers with the Cube Street is great. It’s good for practice, although it’s built for performers on the move, proving a portable, reliable and great-sounding partner for wherever you play.